Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2003, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (4): 629-637.doi: 10.11821/xb200304019

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Economic Development and Its Bearing on CO2 Emissions

ZHANG Lei   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2002-09-25 Revised:2003-02-25 Online:2003-07-25 Published:2003-07-25
  • Supported by:

    Knowledge Innovation Project of IGSNRR, CAS, No.CXIOG-EO1-05-04


Greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in China have aroused much interest, and not least in recent evidence of their reduction although the country is not subject to any emissions reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol's first emission control period. Our intent is to place that reduction in a larger context, that of the process of industrialization. A lengthy time perspective is combined with a cross-sectional approach--China plus five other countries--and addressed through two general models. The findings are salutary. First, they suggest that a diversified economic structure is consistent with diminished intensity in energy use. Secondly, and the obverse of the first, they imply that a diversified energy structure promotes reductions in CO2 emissions. Finally, one is led inevitably to the conclusion that, together, the findings point to a path for countries to transform their economies while at the same time undertaking to drastically moderate their energy use, switching from a pattern of heavy carbon emissions to one in which lighter carbon emissions prevail. The implications of such findings for environmental management are enormous.

Key words: economic development, energy use, structural diversification, CO2 emissions